To the delight of West Ham’s International fan base, the club have been actively exploring the possibility of a trip to New Zealand as part of next year's pre-season preparations. Wellington Phoenix (AKA 'the Nix') provide the sole Kiwi representation in the Hyundai A-league and have been in active negotiations with both West Ham and Newcastle in an effort to organise a four-team tournament in July. Hammers fans will undoubted recall with fondness the Aussie trip during the early nineties that unearthed the talent of former Hammer’s winger Stan ‘the man’ Lazaridis.
The Nix have previously been embroiled in difficulties with racism after ex-Sheffield United (Grr) and Millwall (triple Grrrrrr) player Paul Ifill was subjected to a torrent of verbal abuse whilst playing for the Phoenix against Adelaide United in 2012. The fan involved subsequently received a two-year ban for the incident and has thus presumably been forced to watch the nonsense that is Aussie rules as a replacement for his football fix .
However, the unsavoury side of racism has again become an issue for Kiwi footie as a Wellington United player received a ten match suspension for allegedly making monkey noises towards an opponent playing for Kapiti Coast. Capital Football's spokesperson, Richard Reid (no relation to Winston or his namesake of shoe infamy) announced this morning that the issue would be dealt with firmly to stamp out such unacceptable behaviour.
The player has received an initial ten match suspension, but concerns have been expressed as it has emerged that there have been over 50 complaints regarding racially insensitive happenings in the Capital league over the past three years! No wonder the problem has been described as ‘rampant’ in some quarters of the media.
Meanwhile, VERYWESTHAM’s secret scouting tour of New Zealand concludes today as the crack talent-spotting team make the long journey home to prepare for next week’s not-at-all crucial tie with the Gooners of Middle Arse. It is rumoured that the VWH team have prepared a top-secret dossier of possible transfer targets during the post-season squad development and which is highly likely to be ‘leaked’ on the internet over the coming days.
In the interim, let’s hope the Kiwi football authorities can eradicate this problem asap. And if the trip goes ahead, for any Hammers fans planning to stay in Wellington, we can highly recommend the Gourmet Hotel in Frederick’s Street near the City centre where proprietor Mark is an avid Hammer’s fan .